What is the law on burglary in Maryland, and what are the Punishments for it?
Burglary is breaking into someone else's structure with the intent of committing a crime. The term breaking means unlawfully entering a structure or a place; it may not involve physical damage to the property while entering. The offender can enter by gently opening a window or silently pushing a door.
The term structure, for the purpose of the law, includes any property, tent or cave belonging to an individual or an organization. The intended crime may be theft, arson or any other crime.
According to the law of Maryland, burglary is a crime. Whether or not any crime was committed, a person can be charged with burglary if they are caught on someone else’s property. The law has categorized this offense into different degrees based on the intent and action committed by a person at the time of the burglary.
First Degree Burglary & Felony Home Invasion (Maryland Criminal Code Section 6-202): If a person is found in someone’s house unlawfully then it is charged as a first-degree burglary. If the intent was committing a theft then it will be punishable by up to 20 years in jail. If the intent was to perform any other act of cruelty then it will be punishable by up to 25 years in jail.
Second Degree Burglary (Maryland Criminal Code Section 6-203): If a person is found in a barn, a storehouse, a trailer, an office or any other building other than a house, with the idea of committing a theft, then it is charged as second-degree burglary. The accused could be punished with up to 15 years of imprisonment.
If the intention was to thieve a firearm then the punishment can increase up to 20 years of jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Third Degree Burglary (Maryland Criminal Code Section 6-204): If a person is caught in any building with the intention of committing a felony other than theft, then it is charged as a third-degree burglary. The intended crime could be any of the many listed in the Maryland Criminal Law articles.
The punishment for this could extend up to 10 years. Being charged with the third degree of burglary is as serious as the first and second degrees.
Fourth Degree Burglary (Maryland Criminal Code Section 6-205): The law of Maryland has separate sections under the fourth degree of burglary:
- If a person breaks and enters into a house that does not belong to them
- If a person breaks and enters a building (not a house) that does not belong to them
- If a person is found inside a house/building or in any part of the house/building such as the garden, garage, yard, etc., with the intention of committing a theft; then the person faces a punishment of up to 3 years in prison. Maryland charges the fourth degree of burglary when a person is found trespassing.
Possession of Burglar's Tools (Maryland Criminal Code Section 6-206): If a person trespassing is found in possession of tools to aid burglary then they face a punishment of up to 3 years in prison.
Burglary with Destructive Device (Maryland Criminal Code Section 6-207): If the person breaking into a building or a house is found in the possession of a destructive device then the punishment can increase up to 20 years in jail.
Breaking into a Research Facility (Maryland Criminal Code Section 6-208): If a person is found breaking into a research facility then they may face a jail term of up to 5 years and a fine of $5000.